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Four Things You Can Learn from Celebrity Estate Plans

When celebrity estate plans are covered in the news, it's usually not because they are particularly outstanding for any good reasons. Take Anna Nicole Smith's courtroom battles for part of her late husband's estate. Even though both of the main participants in this debate have since passed, the battle over assets continues.

You could also cite Dennis Hopper's attempts to both divorce his wife and exclude her from his will, essentially at the edge of death. When he passed away in May due to complications stemming from prostate cancer, the divorce had not been finalized and both sides were left with few hard answers as to the late actor's wishes.

As Sheree Curry writes for AOL, despite their complications, these estate debates do offer up extremely valuable tips for successful estate planning. She points out four tips that she believes can be applied to any person in any set of circumstances.

  1. Encourage family members or loved ones to openly discuss their estate plans, including their worries and concerns. By openly discussing the distribution of assets and property, you will lower the risk of surprise and, hopefully, make that individual more comfortable with his or her decisions. 
  2. Ensure that this individual has finished what he or she started. A half-completed will is little better than no will at all and can confuse the situation even more by opening ill-defined wishes up to interpretation. 
  3. Make sure they are using the right attorney. The lawyer they are using may be able to update an estate plan or set up a will, but is estate planning part of his or her practice? If you are ready to commit to setting up an estate plan, you should make sure that you are working with an estate-planning attorney. 
  4. Last, but not least, make sure you know where the estate planning documents are stored. Keeping the estate plan safe is extremely important, but a hidden estate plan reveals few insights.

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